Three months ago Andrew Mitchell MP was forced to resign from his post as government chief whip because of an alleged verbal attack on the Police. Indeed, none other than the Head of the Police Federation (presumably happy to have to talk about something else other than the recent Hillsborough report) called for his resignation.
The incident was sparked when Mitchell was told he could not use the main gate to exit Downing Street, and instead would have to use the side gate. The leaked Police report of the incident says:
After several refusals Mr MITCHELL got off his bike and walked to the pedestrian gate with me after I again offered to open that for him.
There were several members of public present as is the norm opposite the pedestrian gate and as we neared it, Mr MITCHELL said: “Best you learn your f—— place…you don’t run this f—— government…You’re f—— plebs.” The members of public looked visibly shocked and I was somewhat taken aback by the language used and the view expressed by a senior government official. I can not say if this statement was aimed at me individually, or the officers present or the police service as a whole.
I warned Mr MITCHELL that he should not swear, and if he continued to do so I would have no option but to arrest him under the Public Order Act, saying “Please don’t swear at me Sir. If you continue to I will have no option but to arrest you under the public order act”.
Mr MITCHELL was then silent and left saying “you haven’t heard the last of this” as he cycled off.
Mitchell contested this account, admitting to saying “I thought you fucking lot were meant to be helping us”. This was perhaps unwise, and he apologised for it, but was certainly something that many cyclists might say when confronted in that manner (when he had previously used the main gate the same day).
Mitchell was done for when an email was sent from a member of the public corroborating the Police account to an MP. Mitchell said this about the letter:
“It’s very convincing – unless you know it’s untrue, as I do – and it was clearly aimed to destabilise me and finish me off by sending it into the heart of government to my deputy and could easily have done so very fast.”
We now know the email was from a serving Police Officer.
The video footage of the incident does not match the Police report.
Mitchell was stitched up.
Given that the Police appear to have the power to remove an elected official from his office, some in the Police do seem to think they do “run this fucking government”.
The fact Mitchell is a Tory is irrelevant, this could just as well have been a Labour, Lib Dem, or Green Party member.
What is wrong with our Police?